Black Creek Twp. looks at gun protections, complaints

·4 min read

May 11—Black Creek Twp. supervisors tabled a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution supporting gun owners' rights to keep and bear arms last week, while fielding numerous complaints about people firing guns near residential neighborhoods.

Supervisor Rick Davis brought up the resolution proposal last month, and sought additional input from residents. The second amendment sanctuary movement is gaining traction in the state, he told residents.

Nearby Butler Twp. passed a resolution in April, and residents introduced the idea to Sugarloaf Twp. supervisors last month, he said, noting other communities in Columbia County are also considering or passed it.

Davis said that it doesn't override any gun law, but protects gun owners' rights and sends a message to "big government."

While some township residents support the move, many don't, Supervisor Saura Rohrbach said. The township is dealing with numerous complaints about people firing guns at all hours of the night, she said.

Those residents don't support the resolution, which could also put the township at risk, and the issue is one that possibly should be left to the state Rohrbach said.

A township ordinance, which is a local law, would likely be unenforceable, the solicitor said. The township doesn't have its own police and relies on state police, who don't enforce local laws.

"It's a statement more than anything," Davis said, who noted that he would then ask the Luzerne County Council to consider it.

The county is already expected to discuss it at a work session Tuesday with Butler's passage last month.

Rohrbach again noted that residents have complaints about people firing guns in their neighborhoods, and suggested that second amendment sanctuary status might be better for state legislators to deal with.

The supervisors agreed to table the resolution.

On the gun complaints, Rohrbach noted that they come from four areas in the township — around Red Rock Lodge, behind Black Creek Estates, around Sally Purcell's restaurant and outside Orchard Hills development — which Davis said was one general area.

The township is investigating, but its code/zoning officer can't see all areas where the sound of the shots are coming from, and can't trespass onto people's property, she said.

Rohrbach said after the meeting, people are firing guns at all hours and waking people in the middle of the night. At least one person said they're afraid to go outside to investigate themselves, Rohrbach said.

Davis said that while residents claim that they're calling state police to complain, troopers told him that they've only received two complaints going back to April 1. Troopers told him that they take these complaints very seriously.

Rohrbach said that the township secretary has been fielding numerous complaints with some from the same people, and others with multiple people calling.

The township is asking people to notify state police when these incidents happen, she said. The township secretary will also be directing people to call troopers, she said after the meeting.

This is an issue that Rohrbach said she would like to see resolved. A previous complaint about a possible illegal shooting range is also being investigated, she said.


In other business, the supervisors:

— Learned that the township did not receive a state grant to repave Golf Course Road. Rohrbach said that funding was tight and so was competition. Davis noted that there seems to be less funding all around with the pandemic. Rohrbach agreed, as the township is down thousands.

— Approved a raise for the township secretary, who has taken on additional duties with the absence of the part-time office manager. Her hourly rate will go from $13 an hour to $16 an hour.

— Approved the engineer to go ahead with a dirt and gravel road grant application for Chick's Lane. If approved, the township would fix ditches and drainage in a first phase and paving in a second phase, Rohrbach said.

— Approved a donation of $3,381 to the Nuremberg-Weston Volunteer Fire Co. for vehicle insurance on the fire trucks.

— Noted that the polling place for the Primary Election next week will be the Black Creek United Methodist Church at 158 Golf Course Road. The county changed the location from the township complex, but sent out cards with the wrong address. The county has since fixed the mistake.

— Noted that streets will be swept when Conyngham Borough has availability. The borough agreed to work with the township, but had mechanical issues and now has a manpower problem, Rohrbach said. Street sweeping will be done when the issues are resolved, she said.

Contact the writer: kmonitz@standard; 570-501-3589

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